Sunday, June 7, 2015

What is the difference between Pamela Geller and ISIS fanatics? “Fundamentally,” very little.

Police recently shot down a security guard named Usaamah Rahim, who police say they had been monitoring for alleged sympathies with ISIS and making threats first against hate-fanatic Pamela Geller, and then law enforcement.  Of course, when confronted by police, Rahim supposedly produced a “military-style” knife; it is not clear what chance he had against a cop with gun, let alone five of them. His family is now saying that the alleged “plot” was just that, although news networks are busy creating paranoia (or trying to) in the land about an impending “invasion” of ISIS-inspired terror plots. Interestingly, Rahim is an example of CNN providing two “competing” images of blacks to the viewer—one as a victim of society (as in being killed by police), and the other as a serial perpetrator of violent crime. 

I admit that I’m all over the map ideologically in my opinions these days, but I find that hypocrisy and stupidity come in many guises. Why is someone like Pamela Geller given “credibility” by the mainstream media? Let’s be honest: She and her beliefs are just as horrid as those she claims to rail against. So someone allegedly targeted her for death; but isn’t she the maker of her own evil? The truth of the matter is that the mainstream media, while in the main attempting to put “space” between Geller and itself, have nevertheless given the public a distinctly incomplete picture of her true self and the nature of her beliefs. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center has compiled a dossier of Geller’s activities. Apparently she started out in the marketing department of the New York Daily News, then became an “associate” publisher of some right-wing newspaper. Then she married into the co-ownership of a couple of car dealerships, although she mostly lived the life of worthless socialite for 15 years or so, giving her plenty of time to dwell on whatever demons played around in her mind. 

And perhaps engage in extracurricular activities. Not discussed in the media is the fact that Geller probably should be occupying space in a federal penitentiary right now, but instead came out financially sitting pretty, according the SPL Center:

Geller and Oshry were co-owners, along with Christ Tsiropoulous, of at least two car dealerships before the Gellers divorced in 2007. That was the same year Collin Thomas, one of their salesmen, was gunned down while closing their dealership, Universal Auto World, one evening.

The investigation into the murder uncovered an alleged fraud ring. According to the New York Daily News, employees enabled "underground characters," including "known" drug dealers, to buy luxury cars using fake identities. Eleven people who worked for the dealership, including Tsiropoulous, were arrested, but Geller escaped the scandal unscathed. According to The New York Times, she received a $4 million divorce settlement, a portion of $1.8 million from the sale of the Long Island home and then a $5 million life insurance payment when Oshry died a few months after remarrying in 2008. The criminal case has not moved forward since the 2008 arrests.

Why does the mainstream media give people like Geller a forum to “explain” themselves? Let their own words speak for themselves, as well as that of Geller’s neo-Nazi “fact-checker,” Robert Spencer. Why are so-called “journalists” and supposed protectors of public order not exposing people like her? Are they afraid she won’t “talk” to them again? Who cares as long as the public is given the truth? 

Geller first entered the media’s sights with opposition to the opening of the Khalil Gibran International Academy, in Brooklyn, NY, a secular Arabic-English school, whose mission was to facilitate the integration of Arab immigrants into American society. But Geller and other anti-Muslim extremists called this the start of the “Islamization” of America.  Geller and Spencer founded the “Stop the Islamization of America,” or SOIA—which received plenty of media coverage—in order to publicize their opposition to the “ground zero” mosque in Manhattan. So fanatical was its propaganda that the SPL Center placed it on its hate group list in 2010. 

The Center also notes that Geller has ties to “the notorious British anti-Muslim group English Defence League (EDL)” and that “a report by the British newspaper The Guardian revealed the EDL as thugs who hold anti-Muslim protests intended to provoke violence. Because of its racism and history, the EDL's leader, Tommy Robinson, was denied entry at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and sent back to England.” Geller for her part likened the EDL to "courageous English patriots.” 

Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that it is only racists and fascists like Geller who believe that "There is nothing racist, fascist, or bigoted about the EDL." Yet the SPL Center also notes that not only does Geller have the “admiration of white nationalist and even neo-Nazi proponents on the extreme right (a rather remarkable feat, considering she is Jewish),” but “She has been the subject of positive postings on racist websites such as Stormfront, VDARE, American Renaissance and the neo-Confederate League of the South”—all listed as white supremacist hate groups. Geller also has the rather unflattering distinction of being one of Anders Breivik’s role models, receiving high praise from him in his manifesto just prior to his butchering of nearly 70 Norwegian teenagers attending a peace camp, apparently because they were “liberals” who were too “soft” on the Islamic “threat.”

So much for the hypocrisy of Geller’s “reasonableness” and the media giving credence to it. Now for the stupidity. On her website she has written the Barak Obama “will do nothing but beat up on our friends to appease his Islamic overlords,” and that “he is a muhammadan (sic). He's not insane…he wants jihad to win." The SPL Center notes that Geller is a reliable conduit for the racist right’s most laughably lunatic conspiracy theories, “including claims that President Obama is the love child of Malcolm X" and “he was a Muslim in his youth who never renounced Islam.” Obama is “beholden to his ‘Islamic overlords’ and said that he wants jihad to be victorious in America.” Come to think of it, polls indicate that a sizable minority of Americans believe this as well—which doesn’t make it any less stupid; it just makes you wonder about your neighbor is one of them.

Do you actually think that holding a conference to display “satirical” cartoons of the prophet Mohammad (as Geller has done) has anything to do with “freedom of speech”? Of course not; it has everything to do with expressing the attendees’ hatred of Islam and those who practice it. We know what radical Islam looks like, and there is nothing “good” about it; what we don’t see is the vast majority of Muslims just trying to get by in peace in a civil society. The problem with people like Geller is that their words and actions are telegraphed by the media out of all proportion with their numbers, providing the “suggestion” that their views are in the majority. Because the media soft-peddles or neglects to mention the more extreme statements and beliefs they have expressed, people are left only with the dual vision of extremism on the Islamic side and “reasonable” bigotry as expressed by fascist extremism. 

And let us not kid ourselves; for people like Geller, Islam is just the “flavor” of the month. They could easily target another group to suit their nationalist phobias.

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